FUJI LONDON PROPERTY

Information for Landlords,

Legal and Safety Requirements

From October 2008 it became a legal requirement for all landlords to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for their property before it can be let. An EPC assesses the energy performance of a property, and advises how it can be made more energy efficient. It must be carried out by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor to ensure that it meets all legal requirements. Once complete it is valid for a period of 10 years. It is a legal offence for landlords to let a property without an EPC, for all property let after 01 October 2008. (Properties where the tenant moved in prior to this date only need an EPC when they are re-let to new tenants)

Since 6 April 2007, landlords or agents must protect their tenants’ deposits using a Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme if they have let the property on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Currently, this does not apply to company lets, or where the landlord lives in the same property as the tenant. Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes guarantee that tenants will get their deposits back at the end of the tenancy, if they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and do not damage the property.

Landlords or agents must use one of the three approved TDP schemes to protect tenants' deposits where these conditions apply. If any other scheme is used, deposits are not protected in law. The three approved schemes are:

If you don't protect your tenants' deposits when required to, your tenants can take you to court and you may have to repay them their deposit plus three times the amount of their deposit. You will also be unable to seek possession of your property in certain circumstances. The schemes: TDP schemes do not cover holding deposits. Tenants can pay you holding deposits before they have signed a rental agreement. You are not required to protect a holding deposit with a scheme before someone becomes your tenant. However, once they are your tenant the holding deposit becomes a deposit which must be protected with a scheme.

Fuji London Property places the majority of AST tenants'deposits in the custodial scheme (Deposit Protection Service), as we believe this gives both landlords and tenants the greatest piece of mind. We are also members of MyDeposits, an insurance backed scheme, which we use on occasions where appropriate or where we are specifically requested to do so.

These regulations first came into effect 31st October 1994 to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure that ALL gas appliances and gas installation pipe work owned by them are checked for safety at least once a year by British Gas or a Gas Safe registered installer. In addition accurate records of the safety inspections and any work carried out must be kept. The current safety certificate must always be available for any tenant prior to them taking occupation of a property.
Faulty equipment can lead to death and a conviction of unlawful killing on a landlord. Under the regulations any appliance that does not conform can be disconnected.

The above regulations impose an obligation on a landlord to ensure that all electrical appliances left as part of a let property are safe. Cabling, fuses and plugs should also be inspected and replaced where necessary to the correct rating for that particular appliance.
Other legislation covering electrical installations is currently in force and we strongly recommend that all appliances are regularly checked and serviced.

The above regulations were amended in 1993 and set new levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. It is an offence to 'supply' in the course of business any furniture which does not comply with the regulations. This includes supplying furniture as part of a residential property to be let.
The regulations apply to; sofas, beds, bed-heads, children’s furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions and pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture or other similar items. The regulations do not apply to: curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets and mattress covers).
Any furniture manufactured after March 1990 is likely to comply, but if the appropriate labels are not on the furniture, compliance is in doubt and checks should be made with the manufacturer.

The 1991 Building Regulations require that all properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms on each floor. Such regulations regarding older properties do not exist but we strongly recommend that smoke alarms are fitted in all let properties and are regularly checked to ensure they are in full working order.

If you have a mortgage you must obtain consent from your mortgage lender. If your interest in the property is leasehold your lease may require you to obtain consent from your landlord prior to sub letting.

Standard home owner insurance may well be invalidated when you let your property, and you should always check with your insurer before the tenancy commences. We can recommend insurance companies who provide specialist comprehensive insurance cover for let property, including rent and legal insurance.

Income earned through letting property in the UK is taxable, irrespective of whether the Landlord is UK resident. If the Landlord lives abroad, the Agent becomes responsible for the payment of tax, unless we receive a letter from HMRC (Non Resident Landlords Scheme) with an Approval number, instructing us not to deduct tax from the rental income you receive. We are happy to advise you on the procedure for applying for an NRLS approval number.

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